I first saw pornography in grade school. A friend of mine had X-rated magazines. Soon after seeing those magazines I started a masturbation habit. In high school, I experienced the typical teen hormones and often allowed my mind to fantasize about girls. I also pursued sexual relationships with girls. In college, I continued to seek out porn. My relationship with my girlfriend at the time was deeply affected by the consuming addiction. I was soon fixated on the desire for sex and allowed lust to control my mind. Since I did well academically and had an attractive girlfriend, my pride became an additional foothold for sin. After college, I entered the military and delved further into pornography in its various forms. I also continued to pursue sexual relationships with women.
Marriage Wasn't A Magic Cure
I thought that getting married would help me break my porn and masturbation habits. I was wrong. I remember my heart racing with adrenaline as I purchased porn magazines from the local convenience store, slightly fearful that I might see someone from church. At the time, I was a group leader for the youth ministry, but the fear of being caught wasn't enough to keep me from buying it. After enjoying the porn for a few days, I would throw it away in shame and disgust, resolving never to look at it again. After a few weeks, I'd be back looking for more. It never brought any real satisfaction, only a burning desire for more. When I got connected to the internet, a whole new dimension of temptations hit me. Suddenly I could visit porn sites freely and secretly, anytime I wanted. The internet offered just about anything imaginable in porn, and I found myself looking regularly. I would plan times to surf for porn when my wife was away or after she went to bed. My addiction was steadily consuming me. I knew I had to stop, but didn't know how to cut it out.
Living a Double Life Is Never Easy
I knew that God had been calling me back to a relationship with him. I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart and conscience. I started to recognize the deceptive "double life" I was leading: church-going Christian on the outside, sex addict on the inside. I knew it was wrong to look at porn and fantasize about sex, but it seemed too difficult to stop. I could go for two or three months of "sobriety" before falling again. It seemed like an endless cycle. The truth about my situation was that I had been building a stronghold for sexual sin for many years by looking at porn, fantasizing and masturbating. This stronghold had become virtually invincible. The images I viewed over the years were causing my memories to be a constant source of temptation. My porn habit was weakening my marriage and damaging our sex life. I was becoming more excited about looking at porn than being with my wife.
My Breaking Point
One night in July 1998 at around 2 AM, I could not sleep. I felt a strong prompting to ask God for help in getting free of my sex addiction. Instead of going into the computer to surf for porn, I went to the living room and got on my knees to pray. I confessed my sin and desire to be free. I asked for God to forgive me and help me. This prayer was a sincere prayer, unlike the many half-hearted prayers I had offered in the past. Though there were no peals of thunder after I prayed, I was able to return to bed and sleep. The next day, I realized that something had changed inside me! God had done a wonderful work in me - I was different - somehow God changed me such that I could resist the urges to view porn and masturbate. I have been completely free of sex addiction since that night! During the years since then, God has taught me how to walk in sexual purity. I learned about the spiritual side of sexual sin and other temptations. I learned how to receive healing from God and walk with him on a daily basis. I learned how the Holy Spirit plays a key role in helping us live as new persons in Christ. I've written about all of these things in order to help others escape the trap of sex addiction and walk in the victory that God has prepared for them.
If you are struggling with a sexual addiction, I want you to know that you too can have freedom. God is the one who can give you reliable help to permanently break the addiction. There is no limit to the ways that God can and will move in your life if you ask him to.
Visit Paul's Ministry Porn-Free
If you need private prayer for porn or sexual sin
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free," Luke 4:18